Brazil Wants to Know Why Former President Bolsonaro Hid for Two Days at Hungary’s Embassy

Brazil’s Federal Police (PF) are investigating why former President Jair Bolsonaro spent two nights at Hungary’s Embassy last month, a fact that was disclosed by The New York Times.

Bolsonaro stayed at the Hungarian Embassy in Brasilia between February 12 and 14, a few days after the findings of Operation Tempus Veritatis investigating the existence of a plan to stage a coup d’état were divulged.

According to PF sources, the investigators now seek to check whether Bolsonaro has violated any of the restrictions imposed on him by the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

The New York Times suggested that Bolsonaro, who is the target of criminal investigations, tried to evade justice since the former president cannot be arrested in a foreign embassy that hosted him because he would be legally beyond the reach of national authorities.

The US outlet had access to images from the embassy’s security camera, which show that the ex-president stayed there for two days, accompanied by security guards and staff from the diplomatic office. Ambassador Miklós Halmai also appears to have accompanied the former head of state there.

The publication analyzed images from the venue’s security cameras and satellite images, which show that Bolsonaro arrived on February 12 afternoon and left on the afternoon of February 14.

The images also show that the embassy was practically empty, except for a few Hungarian diplomats who reside there. According to the newspaper, the staff were on vacation because Bolsonaro’s stay was during the Carnaval holiday.

On February 14, the Hungarian diplomats contacted the Brazilian employees, who were due to return to work the following day, telling them to stay at home for the rest of the week.

Bolsonaro’s defense team confirmed that he spent two days at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia “to maintain contacts with authorities from the friendly country.”

In a statement, Bolsonaro’s lawyers say that he has a good relationship with the Hungarian premier, with whom he recently met at the inauguration of President Javier Milei in Buenos Aires.

“In the days that he stayed at the Magyar [Hungarian] embassy, at his invitation, the former Brazilian president spoke with numerous authorities from the friendly country, updating the political scenarios of the two nations.

“Any other interpretations that go beyond the information passed on here constitute an obvious fictional work, unrelated to the reality of the facts and are, in practice, yet another piece of fake news,” Bolsonaro’s legal team argued.

Commenting on the case in São Paulo on Monday afternoon, Bolsonaro insisted that he visits embassies frequently and talks to heads of state who “often call me so that I can provide them with accurate information about what is happening in Brazil.”

“I also visit embassies here in Brazil and talk to ambassadors. I don’t have a passport, it’s being held, otherwise, I’d be with Tarcísio [Freitas, governor of São Paulo] and Ronaldo Caiado [governor of Goiás] on this trip to Israel, a sister country, a fantastic country in every respect,” Bolsonaro insisted.

Bolsonaro’s passport was seized by the Federal Police during Operation Tempus Veritatis on February 8 by order of Federal Supreme Court (STF) Justice Alexandre De Moraes after Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former aide-de-camp, signed a plea bargain with PF investigators.

“That Bolsonaro is a confessed fugitive comes as no surprise. Once again, he has shown his plans to flee. He did it at the end of last year [2022], after the elections, fleeing to the United States,” said Minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency Alexandre Padilha, who noted that it was up to the courts to analyze whether the case constitutes any irregularity.

The government guarantees “absolute autonomy for the institutional functioning of the Federal Police,” he also stressed.

ABt

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